It seems like a scene straight out of Braveheart: as the sound of a lone bagpiper pierces the air, you jump out of the way of a group of men decked out in flamboyantly-colored kilts with multicolored face paint and long flowing tresses running towards you at top speed. But wait, the weapons each brandishes in his hand includes a variety of water bottles?
No, I’m not describing some freakish twenty-first century clan war occurring in the hinterlands of Scotland. In fact, these men were a small group out of the thousands of spirited participants in this year’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day 10K that took place down near the Old Post Office and the Capitol. Everyone at the race was decked out in green gear. We (the small group of Georgetown students who actually got up at 7 a.m. on Saint Patrick’s Day to make it downtown for the race) saw green hair, leprechaun hats, dogs with leprechaun hats and even green spandex (whoa?a little scary). But, the best part of the race, by far, was the spirit of camaraderie that pervaded amongst all the runners. From the Olympic Kenyan runners leading the pack, with splits of 4 and 5 minutes who wait around for all of the runners to cross the finish line, to the determined runners holding up the back of the pack and cheering for all the runners that pass them, each and every runner comes out to the races in order to have a good time and raise money for charity. These races are not the kind of races that make or break a runner’s career. Instead, they’re a great place to push yourself to your limits, have a good time and enjoy free yummy food (read: chili, Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream and tons of bagels and bananas you can hoard and throw in your bag) and lots of prizes.
So many people associate running with torture. I don’t really know where it comes from?maybe because we were forced to run the mile as elementary and middle school students or maybe because our soccer and lacrosse coaches tortured us during our daily runs (I can still remember the way I felt during our Indian runs up the steepest hill I’ve ever seen in my life). I understand many people’s bodies just can’t physically handle running?from shin splints to blown out knees to thrown out backs and the many other ailments people experience. (Believe me, I’ve experienced my fair share of these.) But, just a slow jog along the water down by Sequoia’s is still a great run. Keep that in mind when you’re calling running “complete and utter torture.”
There are dozens of races in and around the metropolitan D.C. area year-round and anyone and everyone runs in them. Check out the schedule of upcoming races on www.runwashington.com, register for one and get your butt in gear. Grab your running shoes and head outside for a run along the canal or up along the Potomac and through the monuments. It’s gorgeous out, you’ll get in shape, and your money will go to a great, usually local, charity. You can even join the Georgetown Running Club for their weekly run on Sundays. They meet at Healy Gates every Sunday at 10 a.m. “Dear mama, 10 a.m.,” you think! “Who gets up that early?” Honestly, it really isn’t that early. Unless you really aren’t feeling good from the night before, a nice run in the morning really wakes you up and revitalizes you. Runners of all ability participate, so there is always someone to jog and chat with during the run.